Considering the Opposite

When you are developing a statement about something, this advice can be useful: If you can turn the statement into the opposite and it sounds like the most ridiculous thing on earth, chances are that your original statement isn’t that distinctive.

For example, if you were to say about your service that it provides “a great user experience”, the opposite statement, that is to say, that a service provides a “poor user experience” surely isn’t something anyone would strive for – let alone proudly tell the world about. So while you still might want to communicate that you provide a great user experience, it is obviously something that everyone else could say about their service as well. Focus instead on highlighting something that truly stands out.

This reframing of a statement into the opposite can also be helpful by providing a fresh perspective if you are designing or prototyping something: Is your solution really that innovative? Is it distinctive? Can it be turned into the opposite and what happens then? Does it become useless? Unusable? Harmful even? In this way, looking at the opposite can reinforce a decision because you now know for sure that the opposite isn’t an option at all.

Or is maybe the opposite worth considering, too? Which solution is better? Light or dark? Visible or hidden? Animated or static? Ordered or random? Contextual or unrelated? Inclusive or exclusive?

It might not be easier to decide. Harder even. But at least you considered the full spectrum. For a monthly update on the latest articles, tools, and other resources about prototyping for the Web, sign up for my free newsletter


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It was a good small read as usual. I really enjoy reading your blog and newsletter. Keep it up